Disaster Survival Planning
and Preparation for Dealing
with All Kinds of Crises.

Proper disaster planning and preparation requires education, diligent thinking, consistent effort, and usually some amount of money. But, everyone needs to take a proactive attitude on planning and preparation for all foreseeable risks. Time is of the essense as they say....

Disaster and emergency planning is nothing new. Since the dawn of time, the human race has been involved with this activity to various degrees at various times. Americans,in particular, have been faced with this important aspect of existence since they first set foot on the Atlantic coast. Whether it was starvation, disease, warfare, roving bands of raiding Indians, or western outlaws, this was standard fare for them.

The problem today is that most all people in our era have forgotten the basics of how to survive life when a crises occurs. This is primarily due to the concepts and reality of the "division of labor" and "specialization". For example, how many people could produce a simple lead pencil today? Read "I, Pencil" by Leonard Read and his amusing essay makes the point in spades from an economic perspective. Today, there are professional ladies that can’t boil water and guys that can't even fix minor mechanical devices! I’m not kidding ! I know, I’ve worked with them for years and have heard their confessions first hand!

Disaster planning and preparation and the degree to which you carry it out only increases your odds of survival--it doesn't guarantee success! It just improves your chances of survival and that's the best you can hope for.

Some people are familiar with the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid shown above in a basic form. Dr. Abraham Maslow, a practicing psychologist, published this idea in 1943. It's received some critisim from a number of psychologists over the years with the primary disagreement centered around two types of social orders in which individuals live. One order is the individualist society member and the other is the collectivist society citizen. The U.S. would represent the first and Japan the latter. Maslow's Pyramid was designed around the individual type of person such as you would have in most Western countries.

Granted analogies are never perfect but the model does serve to illustrate some basic needs regarding survival motivation ranging from a foundational basis to the higher levels of life appreciation and achievement.

For our purposes, we are only concerned with ensuring the achievement of the first three levels so we can survive disasters and be able to look forward to achieving the last three levels in the future.

The foundation level is the area of Physical Needs such as food, water, air. Without these the human cannot survive for long. In a survival situation, these are the first elements to be achieved to a degree that would ensure survival for the duration of a disaster.

The next level of needs once the first level is assured are Safety Needs which consists of shelter and clothing for environmental tolerance. Humans have a narrow range in which they are comfortable beyond which they become stressed and need clothing suitable for the elements and/or an appropriate quality of shelter to protect from temperature extremes beyond which clothing can accomplish. Even in a given shelter arrangement, heating, cooling, dryness, and quiet are needed for reasonable comfort and rest without stress. Security is the other facet of Safety Needs. All humans need to exist in a stress-free environment as much as possible to obtain rest and to feel safe within a domain.

The third level to address, once the first two levels are achieved, involves the Love/Belonging Needs. The majority of people have a need to be with others that they love and to have a since of belonging. This sense of emotional support gives a person the encouragement that they are not alone and that they have someone who mutually cares for them . Someone that they can "team up" with for their survival and future. The most important people in this regard is one's family and close friends. (Granted, there are people like hermits that are satisfied being alone but they are the exception. However, their chances of survival in the longterm is decreased because they have no one to "watch their back" or to compensate for an error in judgement).

If one can't achieve these first 2 levels of needs in any given disaster scenario, the last two levels of needs are almost fruitless for a survivor. There is the case of achieving these two levels of needs to find out that your entire family or group of friends didn't survive the disaster that you were caught up in. This will weigh very heavy on most people and their grief may prevent them from successfully coping with the future. (In context of the recent earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan--consider the Japanese school childern waiting for several days for their parents to pick them up from school. Life will be extremely difficult for this childern in the future both emotionally and physically. They will need a lot of help and care to help them through this terrible time in their lives.)

So, the degree to which you apply yourself depends on your--

  • Psychological mindset and worldview--MOST IMPORTANT.
  • Accumulated base of knowledge regarding each type of potential event.
  • Level of concern which establishes your degree of motivation to apply your resources.
  • Perspective as to the probability of an emergency event occurring.
  • Projection of a timeframe for a particular crisis to occur determines your expediency.
  • Viewpoint as to the potential duration of a crisis recovery based on the degree of impact scope.

Here are the potential areas of focus based on the type of crisis:

  • Disaster Planning and Preparation Mindset
  • Survival Food
  • Survival Supplies
  • Utilities
  • Communications
  • Personal Finance Strategies
  • Safe Places
  • Escape Routes
  • Home Security
  • Disaster Insurances
  • Personal Protection
  • Backyard Gardens
  • Health Support
  • Transortation
  • Civil Defense
  • National Military
  • Neighborhoods
  • Citizen Groups
  • Law Enforcement
  • Government Support Groups

It's not practical to place the above categories in any kind of a order of priority--this will always depend on the nature of a pending or potential disaster. You'll have to sort out the practical applications for your situation using and adapting the most logical concerns for each scenario you potentially face.

We can only provide the best "food for thought" for you to fashion your plans and prepare. But, you'll have to take the initiative.

Let's face it. Some people are better able to maximize their preparations because of their personal abilities, possessions, or station in life. But, everyone, everywhere can do something to improve their chances against just about any disaster.

Argentina & Sarajevo Disaster Experiences

On the concepts of how to prepare for various man-made disasters, we thought it would make the most sense if we included information from people that have lived through and survived such events. Their experience and hindsight should prove superior to theoretical musings on the part of others and what is in fact most important.

So, we've collected two life experiences by two different individuals in separate situations that have occurred in just the last decade. The first experience is a robust account by Esteban Morales of Argentina and his country's financial collapse. The second is an unknown author that survived the more recent, Sarajevo War after the U.S.S.R broke up.

We'll provide some excellent video footage of the economic collapse of Argentina and hyperinflation first. Then the actual digest from a citizen, Esteban Morales, describing what he and his family went through in this modern age.

Then we'll conclude with the Sarajevo war survivor's account and recommendations.

The first focus will be on food first and then on things needed to avoid the suffering that will be coming to the unprepared masses. We've merged the recommendations on food from our two kinds of survivors. Then we continue on with things to acquire after food using both individual experiences.

Argentina Hyper-Inflation 2001-2006

If you have an hour to spare, please view some or all of the following 12 short YouTube videos prepared by WorldIssues2000 concerning the Argentina financial collapse. They have been reviewed and collected here for your study.

Or, if you are short for time, come back later and view them. But, do view them--the perspective is very interesting and totally absorbing. You'll also begin to see the ugly parallels of what is happening in the U.S.A. and Europe and the very high probability of what's in play for those citizens.

We've placed these videos here rather than in the Financial Disaster section regarding hyperinflation because these videos will greatly enhance the narrative thoughts below by Mr. Morales. There is nothing quite like seeing this historical disaster event in living color, videos all based on live footage with post-analysis explaining how this slowly became a reality.

This event in Argentina devastated the middle class and killed many of the poor and old. The only groups that lived well and took away the wealth of the people were the rich and the politicians. So, pay attention Americans and Europeans. One of three things will occur in Europe first and then America shortly thereafter probably within the next 5 years, if not sooner-
  • Mass inflation or,
  • Hyperinflation or,
  • Enormous global depression.

Keep in mind, that it used to take decades for empires to fall. Today, the times can be much shorter. For example, the empire of Russia collapsed in three days and many of us witnessed it.

Many witnessed the fall of many of the dictators today in the Middle East with such swiftness brought on by the internet and computers. America and Europe are in far worse shape today than in 2006 at the start of the Great Recession. There is no escaping financial devastation according to many economic and historical experts referenced on this site. Prepare, prepare!

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Esteban Morales of Argentina

The following narrative written by Esteban Morales who lived and suffered through the hyperinflation and financial collapse of Argentina. Parts of his observations are quoted or summarized at various points on this site. Nothing quite like a real life experience to gain protective knowledge for the future disasters. (Keep in mind, English is his second language, but he does an excellent job of painting a great picture of the events that any modern day person can relate with.)

My father was a cowboy of sorts and a lumberman. He always used to say, "a man that has had a bull by the tail, knows 3 or 4 things more than someone who hasn't!"


From a Sarajevo War Survivor

"In war and other social order breakdowns one experiences horrible things. Death of parents and family members and friends, hunger and malnutrition, endless freezing cold, fear, sniper attacks."

Some Basic Facts:

Stockpiling helps. But, you never know how long trouble will last, so locate near renewable food, water, and energy sources.

Living near a water well with a manual pump is heaven.

After while, even gold can lose its luster. But, there is no luxury in war quite like toilet paper. Its value can be greater to gold when none is available.

If you had to go without one utility it would be electricity if not needed for heat. It's the easiest to do without.

Canned foods are awesome, especially if their contents are tasty without heating. Canned gravy is one of the best supplements to add to dry or less tasty foods to make them more enjoyable. It only needs to be warmed and not cooked to be satisfactory. It's cheap especially if bought in bulk.

Have some books-escapist ones like romance or mysteries. They become more valuable as war or troubled times continue. Most of the survival stuff, you'll figure out on your own because you'll have a lot of time on your hands.

The feeling that you're human can fade pretty fast. I can't tell you how many people I knew who would have traded a much needed meal for just a little bit of toothpaste, rouge, soap, or cologne. Not much point in fighting if you have to lose your humanity. These thing are morale-builders like nothing else. Slow burning candles and matches, matches, matches".

See the links below and in the right columns for details on recommened education, food and supplies, personal protection, gardening, etc. These pages will be populated and published as soon as the research is completed. If they are not available as yet, keep checking back. They will be shortly.

Some Words to the Wise:

It has been our experience over the last decade that you should prepare for you and your family members survival first and foremost. You should hope for the best but plan for the worst. Do not be obvious about your activities even with close friends and relatives as you prepare. Go about your business quietly. It’s important that you avoid becoming a target in the future because of your acquisition of disaster supplies and equipment.

Your approach to sharing your survival plans and actions with your external family members and close friends should be VERY SUBTLE. Believe it or not, most will scoff at you, if not to your face, at least to your back. They’ll tease you for being so much like “chicken little”. You know-- “the sky is falling, the sky is falling!” cartoon character. Most people you talk to you will find very quickly, won’t show any interest and will ignore your concerns and arguments. I know. I’ve been there! You'll need to develop a thick skin!

Sometimes your biggest argument will come from your mate if you’re married because it is a temporary detour to research these things and prepare. And, of course you will incur some expense! For the best success, you need to get your spouse involved and on the same page or it is going to be rough going--not impossible, just tough!

So, whatever you do, please don't tell anyone in your town about your acquiring food supplies and equipment for surviving a disaster until they actively share your views! Why you ask? Simple, word gets around that you are loaded with extra stuff. The scorners who have refused to take precautions themselves will be caught in a dilemma. But, they do have long memories. And, if and when, the hammer comes down and they run out of things and get really hungry. Guess where they will be coming shortly? That’s right? They will be inviting themselves over for dinner as often if they are extended family and friends. If they keep this up, testing your generosity, you will soon be in as sad of shape as they. And, that is not doing justice for your family’s well-being, is it?

Others will soon hear about you through the rumor mill as word spreads into wider and wider circles of discussion. Then, some of the more lawless people will get wind of it and they will plan to target you and your family to steal your stuff even if they have to use a gun and take lives. They will be desperate and will succeed unless you have taken the right precautions.

So this presents you with an ugly paradox doesn’t it? You have prepared well these many days to protect the lives of your family and yourself. The scoffers didn’t give it a thought being more interested in NASCAR and NFL sports at the time and now they are suffering greatly. Some may have money, but when food and things run out, money is of little value.

To deal with this age-old paradox, go back and study the Disaster Planning and Preparation section on tactics. This should help you “mitigate” (there’s that word again) this situation more successfully. Let’s face it! The better your neighbors and external family are prepared, the safer you will be. So check out specifically what can be done in this regard without “tipping your hand”?

Planning and Preparation Links

Go to Disaster Planning and Preparation Mindset

Go to Taming Chaos with a Personal Plan of Action

Go to Home Security

Go to Disaster Insurances

Go to Disaster Survival Food

Go to Disaster Survival Supplies

Go to Self-Protection

Go Back to Home Page

Global Resources

Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness

Urban Preppers with Kids, Pets, and Parents: Disaster Survival for the Family

When All Hell Breaks Loose—Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes

Patriots—Surviving the Coming Collapse

Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival